Sunday, July 27, 2014

World's Most Instagrammed Locations of 2013

1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok
2. Times Square, New York
3. Disneyland, California
4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
5. Disney World, Florida

Source: Wired, issue 22.08

Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer

May 15, 2015
Directed by George Miller
Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Zoe Kravitz

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Qatari International Youth Soccer Program

New York Times - "Seeking Soccer Respect, Qatar Looked Abroad"

"The [Observer November 2007] article included a quote from the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who called the program a kind of “exploitation.” He later visited Qatar and, according to a news release issued by Aspire, changed his mind and lent his support to the program."

Friday, July 11, 2014

More Than A Game

Sports Illustrated - "I'm Coming Home"
By LeBron James (As Told to Lee Jenkins)

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

Copa del Mundo - Flopping Arjen Robben Piñata

New York Times - "Invaluable and Infuriating All in One"

Game of Thrones CGI

Boba Fett Reddit AMA

"I think the main reason is there’s something about the costume. I remember the very first day I put the costume on and looked in the mirror [and said], 'Yes that looks good!' There’s just something about it you don’t know what’s going to happen. He has all these gadgets, he has jetpacks, and knee pads. It's not just me, it's the character Boba Fett. There’s something serious about him."

Rolling Stone - "7 Things We Learned From Boba Fett Actor's Reddit AMA"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings - Teaser Trailer

December 12, 2014
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul, John Turrtoro, Ben Kingsley

Copa del Mundo - German Dominance

New York Times - "Germany’s Five First-Half Goals Against Brazil"
New York Times - "Devastating Loss Leaves Brazil in Tears"

Artist - Oscar Murillo

"One of those collectors who fell hard for him is the art adviser Stefan Simchowitz, who has bought 34 Murillo works for himself since 2011 (for as little as $1,500) and a similar number for clients (who include the actor Orlando Bloom and New York Giants owner Steve Tisch). He has become known as a sort of art-flipper bogeyman—despite never, he insists to me and on Facebook, having flipped a Murillo in his own collection (work he’s gotten for others, however …). He believes Murillo’s selling a painting to a wealthy collector is like a graffiti artist “tagging a home.” Rich people “are clueless and should be educated and not just be parasitic socialites. And I think that is what Oscar’s art does,” Simchowitz says. “In this expensive, fancy home arrives this ‘trophy’ that is actually more a Trojan horse.” Or, as Murillo put it in a recent edition of the very glossy L’Officiel Art (which features a photo of his uncle Carlos sunk in bubbles in the bathtub of a 1930s Beverly Hills villa, owned by a collector, that they were staying in during the Mistake Room show): “Any opportunity of artistic achievement comes with an opportunity to infiltrate a social class.”

"New York Magazine - "Oscar Murillo Perfectly Encapsulates the Current State of the Contemporary Art World"
New York Times - "Art World Places Its Bet"

Most Walkable U.S. Cities

Fast Company - "The Most And Least Walkable Cities In The U.S."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The New Silk Road

Vanity Fair - "The New Jet Age"

"The sudden ascendancy of the Gulf airlines and their hub airports is partially a result of geological fortune but mainly due to good planning by the Emirati leaders. Emirates was founded in 1985 after Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum hired a British Airways executive, Sir Maurice Flanagan, gave him $10 million, and told him to build an airline. (Many start-up aviation firms begin by leasing most of their fleet.) Aware that Dubai’s oil reserves would run out in the early 21st century, Sheikh Mohammed had decided to transform his country from a petro-dependent mini-state to a diverse business powerhouse with tourism and aviation at its center.

Today the airline has some 218 aircraft, with another 374 on order. What Flanagan and Clark, another exile from the British aviation industry, have created is an airline that links the emerging countries in Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas. As Clark points out, the U.A.E. is within eight hours’ flying time for half the world’s population. And just as Emirates was connecting Africa and the East to the rest of the world, so Emirates was joined by Qatar Airways in 1997 and then by Etihad in 2003 in its bid to shuttle this new generation of business and leisure travelers around the globe."


"In January 2013, Dubai International opened Concourse A—aviation’s first facility dedicated entirely to Airbus A380 superjumbos. Located in Terminal 3, it is a magnificent building. Huge first- and business-class lounges connect directly to the A380 upper decks; economy-class passengers board from the lower level. The new concourse has already increased Dubai’s traffic to 75 million passengers a year, moving it past London’s Heathrow as the world’s busiest international airport. By 2018 that number is expected to pass 90 million, overtaking vast domestic hubs such as Atlanta and Beijing.

And yet this is just the beginning. A few miles across the tiny emirate another enormous, five-runway airport is under construction. For now, Dubai World Central serves partly as a cargo airport. But late in the next decade Emirates airline plans to transfer its operations there. The result: by 2025 more than 220 million travelers will be passing through the city’s airports annually. For Dubai, world domination is literally on the horizon."


"On both tiers the passengers are greeted by a phalanx of attractive young air hostesses recruited from all over the world. (Though Emirates employs male stewards, none is in evidence today.) The cabin announcements reveal that the crew on this flight can speak English, French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, Mandarin, Italian, and Xhosa."


" At the back of the upper-deck cabin, directly behind business class, is the pièce de résistance: a fully operative stand-up bar that has been the social hub on every Emirates A380 flight I have taken. To make space for this in-flight lounge, Emirates president Tim Clark says, he has had to sacrifice six premium seats, but declares, “It’s the most popular thing we’ve ever done. They have a real party down there.” On this flight a group of Italian contractors join two British couples around the bar soon after takeoff. And they’re all still there six hours later as the plane starts its descent. It is, indeed, some party.

Even the humble masses in coach are able to partake of the A380’s in-flight video-and-audio system, which offers more than 1,500 channels featuring movies, television shows, news, games, and music from around the world, all delivered through high-end, 13-inch seatback monitors.

For anyone who has endured the post-deregulation austerity of U.S. airlines over the past few decades—uncomfortable, overcrowded, bare-bones bus journeys in the sky—the experience of flying on Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar comes close to recapturing the joy of jet travel from Pan Am’s heyday. There is a sense of fun on board, and that has come down from the top. Tim Clark says he wants to bring a bit of glamour back into flying."